The responses to my post indicate a general fear that we will take tax money from the middle class and give it to the undeserving poor. They mention socialism and clearly feel that giving people enough money to lift them out of poverty is a bad idea. Their fear mongering is part of what is wrong with politics in this country.

First of all, the government subsidizes behavior it wants from its populace in thousands of ways. Soldiers are given free tuition for school to incentivize service. Businesses are given tax credits and direct subsidies for research and development, growing certain crops, locating in particular areas, or hiring particular populations. ALL homeowners receive tax deductions on their mortgage interest to incentivize home ownership which props up the construction, banking, real estate and insurance industries, not to mention the huge secondary market in mortgage loans. Public schools are free in this country to incentivize attendance, and for most children free schooling is enough — yet for the poorest families who rely on multiple incomes, it is not.

According to the posters, we must be living in a socialist country.

Another point they missed is that the program in New York is funded by PRIVATE foundations and business people like Bloomberg himself. A similar pilot in San Diego could start out privately funded as well.

Finally, I’m shocked (but not surprised) at the mean spirit in the responses. In an appeal to your self interest I would argue that a program such as this would have net cash benefits to society. If people invest their cash incentives and earn enough to become middle class, their taxes paid, work contributed, and profits reinvested would far exceed the few dollars spent to encourage them to better themselves. In other words, you benefit too by living in a happier, healthier society.


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